Some people should feel ashamed of themselves

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/03/31 22:01 -05:00, original URI:

According to Bill Vaughn in his post Petitions and other Silliness:

When I visited the speaker’s lounge I felt like a caged bear with kids poking me with sharp sticks. It seems that the Microsoft folks in attendance took exception to the Visual Basic 6.0 petition that I signed along with a number of other MVPs. A couple implied that I would be lucky to keep my MVP status because I chose to speak up.

If you were one of those folks who implied such a thing, then shame on you.

An MVP is not an unpaid shill. He or she is a Most Valued Professional. This is a program which (as this site says) " a worldwide award and recognition program that strives to identify amazing individuals in technical communities around the world. Microsoft MVPs are recognized for both their demonstrated practical expertise and willingness to share their experience with peers in Microsoft technical communities."

I used to be an MVP. And this is simply not done. Once (a few years ago) I know of one incident where a Product Manager implied retribution for public statements an MVP made (ironically it was also about Visual Basic). I also know that after feedback from several internal and external people that the Product Manager was himself punished, and required to apologize for doing it.

Whoever did this was entirely out of line.

Bill is actually a former employee of Microsoft who has forgotten more about several MS products than many of the people who are employees here will ever know.

Even the thought of someone using their position as an employee to try to unfairly influence someone in this way pisses me off to no end. This is not why we are encouraged to go out and speak at conferences. As I said before, I did not even sign the freaking petition but I swear I am tempted to do it now, just to see if someone has the nerve to claim I do not have the right to do so. If I did not have philosophical qualms about what the petition was trying to do, I would probably do so right now, and dare these people (whoever they are) to try to show me the door.

# AC on 31 Mar 2005 8:48 PM:

OMFG! I would suggest firing them if it were me.

# John Mark Howell on 1 Apr 2005 5:35 AM:

There are TWO sides to this story! BillV and his notorious sidekick are being totally obnoxious in their quest to have VB6 reinstated to active product status with plans for enhancements!

# Michael Kaplan on 1 Apr 2005 7:55 AM:

Being a VP or high level person in that group is a hard job because you have to deal with a rough group of customers who are very hard to fool. But the answer is never threats, never coercion -- even if it is just implied.

Thus in my opinion, there is only one side -- the only person who should ever be delivering any kind of message along the lines of a conditional membership to the MVP club would be the MVP contacts, and only in the broader concept of the 'net neutrsl to positive MS stance' that they promise to keep. Random speakers at conferences are totally out of line on this one....

# Mike Williams on 1 Apr 2005 2:27 PM:

Coincidentally, Microsoft just reserved its right to neutralize me as an MVP after 2 years and dropped me from the program last night (without any reason cited). Of course that's after a year of zero return emails from my MVP leads and no follow up on any issues from them. The current style appears to be to simply non-renew you at the last moment, as happened not too long ago with the most prolific poster in the Windowsmedia newsgroups, Chris Lanier.

That's not going to change the way that I post, in volume* (currently around 1000/month) or tone. I had to post under an assumed name for many years during a Microsoft regime that frowned deeply on employees interacting with customers in this manner, so the program title means little.

* I'm going on a long hiking expedition in two months, so the volume will fall off then.

# Michael Kaplan on 1 Apr 2005 2:44 PM:

Funny, I have been very much in public posting since at least 1994, with most of that time when I was an approved MS vendor (and the last few years as an FTE).

First CompuServe, then newsgroups, and random conferences, too. My jon to day actively encourages the whole community thing....

But then every group is different. :-)

Sorry you got dropped though.

(myself, I asked to resign and I was able to succeed where even Mike Gunderloy had failed, but then I did it by being more obnoxious than him!)

# Steven Black on 4 Apr 2005 11:40 AM:

I can name several ex VFP MVPs to whom this sort of thing has happened. I think there can be no pretense that the MS MVP program doesn't effectively serve to quash the public disquisitions of community pillars. To expect otherwise is naive, and unsupported by past experience. <p>There has always been a marked difference between what many MVPs will tell you in private and what they say in public. It's sad, but some otherwise very fine people can be so-bought for what amounts to so little.

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